Student at Hornbine School
Three generations of the Rose family attended The Hornbine School. My Grandfather, Anthony Rose, attended The Hornbine School in the 1870’s. His wife, Florinda, and he had eight children who attended Hornbine School around the turn of the century. One of their children, Manuel, married Martha Daily, who had attended The Long Hill School. They had seven children who attended Hornbine School between 1926 and 1937 before the school was closed.
Mrs. Mary Magan was our school janitor. She would start the wood burning stove every morning about 6 AM to have the school warm when we arrived.
Evelyn on the far left with her siblings.
Three generations of Roses, including me - Evelyn Rose Bois, walked to school from Purchase Street. My father and his father before him, walked two miles each way. We did not have a school bus in the Hornbine area of town during the twenties and thirties so my siblings and I walked one mile to school.
We were expected to attend school no matter what! We never had what is now called “snow days”. Our teacher, Mrs. Hopkins, drove 10 miles and was always there to teach when we arrived. We walked to school in the snow or rain and dried our shoes or boots (and often socks) near the wood burning stove if it was necessary.
If we came to school late, particularly in good weather, we had to stay after 3:30 PM to make up for the lost time. Then, our folks would punish us when we arrived home. We were needed at home to perform many chores like picking strawberries.
Evelyn’s sister, Dot, with her mother after picking many baskets of strawberries.
We were expected to go to school dressed as best we could every day. The boys always had to wear a shirt and bow tie. They dressed in knickers and eventually they wore long pants. The girls always wore a dress or skirt and blouse.
She also brought one pail of drinking water for the day. We had the water in a stone crock. (In my father’s day it was a pail.) We had a dipper for all of us to drink from. We didn’t have paper cups for each individual.
We arrived at 8:30 AM to get things ready for 9:00 O'clock. The boys had to bring in the wood and be sure to keep the stove going for the day. Often, in cold weather, the girls would start to prepare vegetables for the school hot lunch.
At 9:00 AM, Mrs. Hopkins, who taught all seven grades, would ring the school bell which she kept on her desk. We would line up out side with the first graders in front, followed by the second graders etc. with the eighth grade students in back. We would then march in and go to our seats.
Next, we would salute the flag. Then, we’d say a prayer and sing a patriotic song like God Bless America. After that, it was off to work.
Class size varied. We had eight grades in the one room with anywhere between 0 to 5 students in each grade. Our school was filled with Perrys, Almeidas, Bettencourts and Roses along with a few additional families.
We studied all the school subjects with Mrs. Hopkins. We didn’t switch classes like the children do today.
The teacher would prepare and begin the lessons for the younger students. The older children helped the teacher with the younger students. Students who were fast learners could pick up the next class work much faster.
We learned Arithmetic, History, Geography Reading and Spelling among other subjects.
We had a spelling bee once a week. We would have two teams, one on each side of the room. We would see who could stay up the longest without misspelling a word. For a prize, we would get a small book. I received a book that I still have after all these years.
We even had cooking. The families would bring in farm vegetables and Mrs. Hopkins would show the girls how to cook them. We made cream carrot soup or potato or vegetable soups for a hot lunch in the winter. We all had our own dishes but drank from the same container.
During warmer weather, we would have bread and jelly sandwiches our mothers made. We brought our lunches to school in a paper bag or lunch pail.
We had to go out side to the bathroom. We were expected to use the privy before school or during our lunch hour. We were not allowed to go any time we wanted to during the school day.
We had no electric lights. We only had the window light to use during the school day. Our only heat was the wood burning stove.
We didn’t have a lot of books in those days so we had to share them. There were only 3 or 4 books for each grade. Mrs. Hopkins would give each of us a chance to take books home to study.
During recess, the boys might play ball, tag or marbles on one side of the school yard. The girls might play Ring around the rosie, hide and go seek, roll the hoop, jump the rock, jump rope or hopscotch on the other side. If it rained, we played bean bag in school.
If we did not behave, we were punished. Mrs. Hopkins made students sit under the teacher’s desk. Other times, students were made to sit in the waste basket. A ruler was also used as a quick way to punish an offender.
We used pens with ink wells. The boys, at times, put the girls’ hair in the ink wells. When this happened, the offender had to sit on the wood pile in the back of the room for a half hour.
Mr. Whitman, the superintendent, came to the school once a month. He would be the one to punish us if the teacher thought that was what we needed. He would speak to the student who misbehaved and then he would speak to the parents.
Mrs. Cole, the school nurse, came by to check the students' health once a month. She and Dr. Swift, who also visited once a month, gave us all of our shots. They checked our eyes, throats, teeth and gave us the T. B. test once a year. If things weren't right, Mrs. Cole would go to see our parents or take us home if it was necessary.
Mrs. Cole, the nurse, (left) and Mrs. Hopkins, teacher, (right) outside the Hornbine School during one of Mrs. Cole’s monthly visits.
We didn't have vacations every eight weeks as the children do today. We only had a few holidays off from school.
Each year, our parents would come to school and watch us put on a Christmas play. We would dress up in our “Sunday Best” for the day. We all had to remember a poem and our part in a play.
I remember that we all got a candy cane. We might receive a pencil with our name on it from the teacher. This would help us have a pencil at all times.
Many children, like my father, left school when they were fourteen. We were farmers and the family needed the children to work. Some students in our area continued on to local high schools.
Evelyn, in her, “homemade”, seventh grade graduation dress. Eighth grade students from Hornbine attended the Bark Street School in Swansea at that time.
My father and grandfather attended the Hornbine School when it was a smaller building. The desks were arranged facing the front as they are today. My siblings and I attended The Hornbine School after it was expanded. At that time, the desks had been reversed, facing the back of the building, so we wouldn't be easily distracted by traffic passing by the front door!
I ‘ ve always enjoyed visiting The Hornbine School. My husband, Joe, and I attend the open house, each second and fourth Sunday between June and September, as often as we can. We enjoy meeting friends, old classmates and relatives of people I know.
Joe and Evelyn Bois standing by Evelyn’s display at The Hornbine School.
Evelyn Rose Boise pointing to her aunt who attended Hornbine School in 1896.